tv New Day Sunday CNN June 12, 2016 5:00am-5:31am PDT
as the sun comes up on the streets of orlando, florida, we are watching a situation unfold, one of what could be one of the biggest mass shootings in american history. we have at least 42 people taken to hospitals, at least 20 people who are dead, after pulse nightclub was the target. the people in pulse nightclub, when a shooter came in, armed with an assault type rifle, a handgun and some sort of device, and started shooting. the gunman fired about 2:00 this morning, when all of this happened, and we know as i said 42 people were taken to the hospital. you are seeing some of the video there, where we have authorities, police, people from police, state and local
authorities helping citizens get people into trucks, to hospitals that are nearby, because for whatever reason, maybe there were not enough emergency vehicles to get them there, but police have said multiple devices were found with the suspect. they are not releasing much about him, only to say he is not from this area, from orlando. he was organized, and this seems to be very well prepared, and as it started at 2:00 in the morning, three hours later, as police determined there were hostages involved, they decided to go in and try to save those hostages. take a look. >> we're looking probably in the range of 20, but we don't want to give you an exact figure. like i said multiple people transported to the hospital. unfortunately there are people we're trying to clear the pulse nightclub of all, any devices. we did find a device on the
suspect himself, and possibly his car so we're trying to clear all that and unfortunately there are some people who have succumbed to gunshot wounds, maybe around 20, inside the nightclub. >> can you go into more detail about your time line once you were able to stop the suspect and get in there? i know that you had some of the surviving victims being interviewed? >> absolutely. so again, 0200 hours, our officer working extra duty there responds to the shots fired. he and two other officers exchanged gunfire with the suspect. this developed into a hostage situation. right about a little after 5:00 this morning, we made the decision to go in and rescue. we were being contacted by people in the bathroom, nearby, at least 15 people that were in a separate area, and our biggest concern was future loss of life. we wanted to save those people, so we did an entry and exchange
gunfire with the suspect, again, after some explosive devices were used as well as our bearcat was used to get through the wall, and from there, we exchanged gunfire with the suspect, and he was dead at that scene but officers did a great job, s.w.a.t. team did a great job. there were at least 30 people who were saved during that rescue. >> you heard something there as we talk about exactly how this panned out. they used a bearcat to get through the wall. sedrick alexander, law enforcement analyst with us now. this was a very, very delicate situation. you have at least 30 people in there. you have no idea if you're going to be able to bring them out dead or alive. help us understand at what point they make that decision to, that this is their option, this is the only option they have to try to save these people and using the bearcat and the armory they
used, the weaponry they used. help us understand how that went down. >> our tactical units across the country, s.w.a.t. teams are certainly trained and equipped with high-powered weaponry, and very well trained with high-powered weaponry and tactics for these type of situations. they're also equipped with vehicles such as the bearcat, many people may refer to them as small tanks, but they have the ability for officers to get behind or inside, so that they can cover themselves in these vehicles as they enter into a threat zone. that was cleefarly the case her. those decisions are made when oftentimes it becomes the final option or circumstances suggest that we need to move now so that we can save lives, and this clearly was a decision that was made by the chief this morning.
>> okay, secedric thank you so much. >> boris sanchez live a few blocks from where this all happened. boris, what are you seeing there now? >> reporter: the police presence here, christi has dwindled down significantly. earlier today there were dozens of agents all over the street, covering the street. we saw ambulances rushing back and forth. right now things are much more calm. as a matter of fact within the past half hour or so, we saw about 30 people down the street from here get picked up, two busloads and driven to downtown orlando. we're not sure who those people are but the number and the look on their faces coincides with the 30 or so people we heard were rescued from inside the club by police when they went inside. to kind of review where we're at right now, what we know about the suspect, officials tell us that he was not from the orlando area, that this was an organized attack, and there was a suggestion that he may have had
a radical islamist leanings. from what i can tell you from the press briefing, it really minute by minute goes with what we saw standing out here about three blocks away from the club. at 2:00 a.m. after the initial shots were fired an off-duty police officer responded. there was that hostage situation that unfolded where we heard witnesses tell us they saw inside as they were trying to get out, and then at about 5:00 a.m. we heard that explosion out here. it turned out to be a distractionary device used by officers they styed to interfere, go inside and save some of the hostages. at that point they exchanged gunfire with the shooter and he was killed. they mentioned also during that press briefing that he had some kind of device on him. investigators are working to figure out exactly what that device was. obviously this investigation will take quite some time. there's a lot of background to look into as far as the suspect. also one thing to consider. we heard the mayor earlier say a lot of consideration should be given to the victims, this is a
strong city. just yesterday the city of orlando was dealing with a different shooting, this onet a concert hall where an online superstar, christina grimmy was shot and killed. this community was already sensitive to shootings and have this happen at this point has to be considered one of the worst shootings in american history if we're talking about potentially 20 people killed inside the club. rattling for people here in orlando. >> you're absolutely right. i want to make a point to those of you watching, victor has left, on his way down to orlando as we speak to continue to get more information and push this story forward, as things develop over the next couple of days. i am sitting here with law enforcement analyst cedric alexander and tom fuentes and law enforcement analyst on the phone. i want to listen to something the police chief said. he was asked the question as to
whether this shooter may have had a connection to radical islamic terrorism. this was his answer. >> i'd say at this time we're looking into all angles right now. we do have suggestions that individual may have leanings towards that are particular ideology, but right now we can't say definitively so we're still running everything to ground. >> okay so basically they are saying nothing's off the table, is cedric cedric. >> nothing is off the table pause -- >> he said we did have the police chief saying we do have suggestions that the individual may have leanings as we heard there. what suggestions would that be? does that suggest to you they've already looked on social media, they've already gotten some information, gleaned some information about this person, possibly from other people. >> it could be all the above. we really don't know, but i'm quite sure over the next number of hours we'll have much more clarification as to why they may be leaning or not leaning in that direction, but of course an
investigation of this magnitude, and if we consider what's going on in the country today, where we know we have people who are being recruited through social media. we have those that very well created in the homeland or this could have been domestic terrorism, they're going to take a 360-degree view of this, and the investigation over time and probably over a very short period of time, because the fbi is very good at this, and they have all the resources and intelligence to draw some pretty good conclusions, probably within a reasonable amount of time, to be able to share. >> juliet kayem is with us, national security analyst. when you hear everything we've been hearing this morning, what's your first thought? >> reporter: >> i obviously would always put a terror incident at the top of potentials, only because these kinds of events just don't happen regularly, and we have seen things like in paris and
brussels, mass casualty events. but, a big but the only evidence it has ties to islamic statements is from a police officer. it's hard to do because people want to, but to wait out an investigation like this. this is still an active investigation. did the person have colleagues involved? how did he plan this? who else knew, and so we want to make sure that our investigation doesn't close off any other potential but i just want to say, you know, this is, whatever it is, this is just a horror, and we've seen this kind of horror, whatever type of motivation in paris and other places, the soft target places that are meant to be fun, young people and so this is definitely just a shock to all of us, even
those of us who are in the field. >> um-hum. juliet, thank you so much. stay with us. tom fuentes, when we hear from juliet she's making very good points. we only have the police chief or the police department's words to go on, and again, he said i would say if we're looking into all angles right now, we do have suggestions that the individual may have leanings toward that particular ideology, but we cannot say definitively. that was the answer to the question as to whether the shooter may have had a connection to radical islamic terrorism. with that said, tom fuentes, where do you see -- i guess how long does it take? you've been involved in enough of these situations, how long does it take to quash whether that connection is indeed made? i mean, don't people who do these kinds of acts, who
perpetrate these kinds of -- and it is a mass killing at this nightclub -- have a motive and want to you know the motive eventually? >> well, yes. it could be a very short period of time. if you recall san bernardino, the individual called the police that had bought the guns for farook and involved with him a couple years earlier, but decided not to commit a terrorist act. as soon as he heard about the shooting he knew immediately it was his former neighbor and friend who was probably responsible and notified the police. so the police could get calls almost immediately, if somebody that knows this person or knows of his ideology phoned in, and said i'll bet it's so-and-so and here's why i think so. it can be very quick or if it takes time for the search of his residence to try to find his computers, to see if he has cell
phone information or computerized information that would reveal contact with other individuals or going to other websites, that can take a little bit longer but that's a probability as well. debris with julia we shouldn't speculate, based on the comment he made, i was surprised he made that comment. i would wait for a little more detail before saying that's what it's about. >> juliet, do you agree with that? are you surprised he made that comment this morning? >> only surprised just because it does get people thinking in one direction and you don't want them to do that because i don't think we know -- look, here's what we know now. there's a perpetrator who is dead. they'll have his identity relatively soon, they'll know where he lives, see what he's in his house. they'll determine whether it's known to the joint terrorism task force in orlando, florida or anywhere else. right now there is so much
activity going on in the federal government with the fbi and department of homeland security to figure out who is he is. i think we're talking right now, in two to three hours we will have a sense of what this is, because everyone is now -- look, you have, we know who did it, so that is beneficial from the perspective of motive. >> so juliette, when we talk about waiting a couple of hours, and until we find out more about this person, what do you tell people? because you know that the nation is watching this, and they're waking up and they're satisfying this now act of terrorism as it has been dubbed, as it has been categorized by authorities there in orlando, and they're waking up, they're looking at it and thinking of course they're wondering why and we don't have those answers, but what would you say to the viewers who are watching this and who may be
wondering what more might be behind it and anybody who might have more information. i mean, how do authorities get information from people when they think oh, i saw him do something, you know, i saw him looking at a website a couple of weeks ago but i didn't think anything of it. what do you tell the american people about our safety and about our awareness right now? >> that's a great question. the first as we find out who the perpetrator is, anyone who has come across him, who may have information absolutely has to come forward if only to ensure there isn't more activity planned if he was part of a larger group. if he was a lone guy, then that is also beneficial. i will say just in this regard because it was a known gay club and i'd love tom's thoughts on this, that's not typical for sort of targeted terrorists,
especially those with international ties, because they don't -- i don't know how to say this perfectly, but they tend not to target things that they might view as socially not pristine. they go into sort of generic sporting events or clubs. i will say to the american public, and i've dealt with this before, people are nervous. we are also in an election season, where this will obviously have consequences. we are a relatively safe nation overall. these incidents happen. they happened before 9/11. they will happen again. unfortunately, we have to remain smart but we also have to put things like this, no matter how horrible, in perspective, and we have to work together to reduce the risk to ourselves, but also maintain who we are as a nation. we will not close down because of this, and i recognize the fear. i'm a mother of three, with are
kids who were out last night. i recognize the fear and we have to put it in perspective. >> juliette, good point and tom as we hear of active terrorism, how do you define act of terrorism? it doesn't just mean whether you have radical islamic ties, correct? >> well, terrorism means that you're submit committing those crimes, committing murder for either a religious ideology, a political ideology or some to affect government policy or make a personal statement. it's more than just being a deranged psychopath that commits a random act of violence. there's some political or religious purpose behind it, and that can be domestic. we have no shortage of domestic hate groups in this country. our rnlg ku klux klan, going
back 150 years to other more moderate hate groups we have and the international front we have no shortage there. as i mentioned, the fbi has investigations of isis in all 50 states right now. while we haven't had isis targeting gays here or what we've seen in their messages here, we have seen them put videos online of marching gays and pushing them off a tall building saying that's how they should be killed, so now we have a shooting like this, this is what makes it difficult for the fbi and police you don't know. it could be motivated by so many different ideologies or one person that's deranged, doing it on their own. that's the problem here, too many suspects instead of too few. >> thank you, juliette, i want
to get your perspective on harry howk, cnn law enforcement analyst watching this unfold with you this morning in the last over six hours now that this has been happening. harry, give me your immediate assessment based on what we know thus far. >> one of the first things i'm seeing the fact we had a hostage situation for a short period of time that's strange to me. why didn't he keep on shooting until the police finally stopped him. so that's not typical of a terrorist attack that we've seen in the past where people are held hostage. the shooters will keep on shooting and shooting and shooting, so i don't know exactly what this is right now. the fact is maybe at the time that he stopped shooting they said he had some kind of aa device on him, maybe he was trying to make the device work but the police made the right decision to go in and take this shooter out right away.
when the police chief who was talking there said something about possible islamic terrorist attack they've had information about this guy for over five hours now and they've had dozens of detectives. they have the fbi. they have the cia, everybody working, so if it seems to me that the police know something that they don't want to give any information further out because they want to make sure they're 100% confirmed if this is a terrorist attack. the odd thing for me was why did he stop shooting for a period of time. >> cedric alexander, what do you say to that? did it seem odd to you there was a three-hour span of holding hostages? >> again like you heard harry say, in these types of situations, three hours can be considered very short but each set of circumstances, when it comes to these types of events are very different.
we don't know yet and it's hard to speculate whether the officers were engaged in negotiation, what was occurring in that three-hour time span. they will tell us that at some point but i think it's important still very early in the investigation, we have more information than what we had at 5:00 this morning. however, the investigation is continuing and i think by midday, hopefully 9:30 we'll know more information but in a situation like this it's important we step back, wait and see what law enforcement investigation reveals because we don't want to alert people or cause or create a situation in the minds of people that may not be there. >> may not be true. >> that may not be true and we have to be very careful of that but at the same time as well, too, we got to be thinking about those things, because this we know, we live in a very different world today, and these incidents are coming it appears
more frequently than what we had ever imagined. >> harry howk, other than this hostage situation that has perplexed you, what else about this are you looking at with all the information we know as of this point, that stands out to you? >> yes, you know, that hostage situation is really, really a big thing for me, watching that, and i didn't know that went on for three hours. now that i'm finding out it went on for three hours, that's really perplexing to me. if somebody is looking to kill as many people, as fast as possible and a terrorist type person why hold people hostage for three hours? that's what tends to make me think maybe this might not be a typical terrorist attack or terrorist attack at all. >> if you're walking into, if you start shooting first of all, as this happened at 2:00, you
get in a gun fight with a security officer, police officer who is off duty but working security at this nightclub, you make your way into this nightclub with an assault type rifle, a handgun and another device. >> right. >> obviously your intent is to kill, you would think, a lot of people. >> sure, exactly, and this three-hour standoff is really strange to me. i tend to think that maybe this is not an islamic terrorist attack, based on that, but you know, of course -- >> based on the hostage situation alone? >> based on the hostage situation alone. i mean, why? we've seen these guys go out and kill and kill until they're stopped. why did this guy stop? of course i could be wrong here. this guy might not be attached operationally to anybody. he might be a lone wolf who planned this attack and during the attack he stopped.
that's definitely a possibility out there. the way i'm looking at now and based on the information we have right now, the fact he had stopped for a while and negotiations might have been going on. police had to make a decision because when the place rrived there were people already dead. people were already shot, and you make a decision, listen, a guy who is willing to kill this many people at this time, do we wait and negotiate for three hours or we go right in on this guy? it's a very hard decision to make. you're trying to save as many lives as possible but the fact that this guy might have already killed 10, 15, 0 people already. that's a very tough decision for the police to be able to make and luckily they did finally make it and go there and take the shooter out. >> right, and that is one of the things that has been praised by our law enforcement analyst all morning is the fact they did make that decision to go in there and in doing so they saved at least 30 people we know. tom fuentes, what do you make --
let me ask you this -- of that three-hour period between the time that the shooter started shooting and then there was the hostage situation before the police came and took fire, open fire on him and were able to kill this suspect. what do you make of the fact that he did stop shooting? do we have any indication -- i don't remember hearing anything about negotiations actually going on during that time. >> first of all, christi, i'd like to say that harry raises a great point here about why stop shooting, if you're out to kill as many people as you can for whatever reason you want to kill them. obviously he was on a rampage to begin with and clearly didn't run out of ammunition since he had enough bullets left to engage with the police, so that's a great point of why he stopped, what was going through his mind to start the shooting,
what was going through his mind to cause him to stop, and the other thing is that as far as the three hours, you know, when you're running one of these and i've been an on-scene commander in hostage situations, when you're running one of these things, trying to get as much information as you can that's credible, it's very difficult in a chaotic situation. you've got a dark club, you want to get a floorplan of the building, how many rooms are there, where could people be as the witnesses have been debriefed that have run out the door, try to find out where other people could be hiding and obviously some of them were sending messages out while they were hiding in the various, the bathroom and other places in that building, so that's a big part of what you're going to do, before you order an assault, to rescue hostages, is know where is the shooter, where is that person, try and place him at a specific point in that building, so you can focus on that, and specifically identify where, whether they're hostages or
other barricaded people that just lock themselves in various rooms where they might be and get that type of information. some of them have phones and were sending messages out of there, they could have been communicating with the police as well so the police would be gathering intelligence at all through that time period to try to see when and where they could make a rescue attempt and carry it off successfully. >> tom, thank you so much. do stay with us. juliette kayyem made a good point today, we are in a ticy political season. people are polarized in the way that they see things right now on many different sides of the aisles. in fact donald trump just tweeting this morning now about this saying really bad shooting in orlando. police investigating possible terrorism. many people dead and wounded. we know police are investigating this as an act of terrorism, because they defined it as such during a press conference just a